NASA loves researching and their newest aviation project is no exception. The X-57 plane is an all-electric propeller driven design to test and demonstrate that such a plane can exist. They also went a step further by testing new engines and arrangement of them on the wing to try and create the most effect short range plane possible with current technology. Without a doubt it has been a success! Their plane currently has 500% design efficiency over comparable aircraft on the market, these design solutions can be applied to the next generation of airplanes.
According to the space agency, this final configuration with its bespoke skinny wings will boost efficiency by reducing drag in flight. Propulsion for takeoff and landing is provided by the 12 high-lift electric motors on the leading edge of the wing that allow the X-57 to reach cruising altitude. Then the two wingtip propellers take over as the smaller motors deactivate and their propellor blades fold into the nacelles to reduce drag. For landing, the motors reactivate and centrifugal force opens the blades again.